I have to admit, I do enjoy this series, but sometimes it gets on my nerves. It's almost like one step forward and two steps back with the characters. Just as we think something great is going to happen, it gets ruined. In Push and Shove, there is a new drug that is circling Ashley West school and the students - JH14. It is causing outbursts of rage and paranoia and hallucinations, but untraceable. Adding to this mess is that the Principal Hendricks is still following the boys and seems to have recruited a few of the school teachers and students as spies. In Push and Shove, we catch more of a glimpse of Wil, and I do wonder what his part in the book is and whether in the end he will be revealed with a more major character. Sang finally gets a kiss, and I have to admit I didn't see this person being the first, to have a proper kiss, but then again it totally makes sense. I have to admit I love the last couple of books though as they give readers more pages of Sean Green ( Dr. Green) and Owen (Mr. Blackbourne). We do get to see that Sang is growing in herself as a person especially in the sexual interests, but what annoyed me about this book is that the boys can't make up their mind about loving her. It's like come on boys, grow some balls and tell Sang you love her or at least kiss her properly and then explain the situation as here she is feeling all rejected, and it would have been fixed if they all bloody well communicated with each other properly instead of pussy-footing around the issues of "I'm in love with Sang". Back to a positive, the other thing I enjoyed but not too much as I ached for Nathan was that we got to learn more about his horrible home life. After finishing, Push and Shove I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series as it seems that the characters are finally starting to grow up a bit and step up to the plate.
So, I am the giant nerd who reread the entire series this weekend in preparation for the release of this book. I love the earlier books. They are just full of fun and make me smile like a moron when I read them. I was super psyched to read this one. But it was kind of lacking in comparison to the previous books. This is not to say that this isn't a good book. It is, but it lacks the brilliance that I know the author is capable of because of the previous books.
For example it has a something of a problem with continuity. In the previous books, we have seen Sang grow and change in certain ways and in this book it is as if she has regressed rather seriously, especially at the beginning...the whole tone of the narration is just off. And frankly, Sang isn't as convincing in this book, she just comes across as somewhat weak and stupid, which has never been the case before.
I think this book was kind of busy as well. The earlier ghost bird books just dwell richly on moments of friendship and while this book had some of that, it just seemed as if they were trying to stuff a little of everything into the book instead of focusing on a few of the relationships and letting us see them grow in depth. What I have loved the most about this series are the characters and their relationships, and it seemed like some of the depth that I have come to expect was lost in a flurry of more shallow interactions between the characters...perhaps in the pursuit of furthering the romantic aspects of those relationships too quickly.
Also, our long awaited kiss was a little disturbing, even while being super sweet and cute...
Anyways, I still really enjoyed the book and if you have been reading the series, you absolutely must read it.
The more these books go, the more insane things happen. There's new, synthetic drugs that make people go crazy. There's abuse and attempted rape. Bomb threats and scandals. Wow. I do find the stories interesting, especially the romance between Sang and 9 guys, that itself could be the entire plot. I'm happy that some progress is being made with the romance finally. I just wish Sang could defend herself a little more when she's constantly being attacked. The boys taught her some self defense and after all the times it's happened, you would think she'd get better at fighting people off. Maybe next book?
As an avid manga reader I'm cool with stories and character's that are way outside conventional norms so as long as all the character's were consenting and we saw a gradual build of all the relationships, I have no problem with the polygamy aspect. All love or all lose is obviously the core of this story and it bothers me when I read reviews that mark down the book because the reviewer clearly expects Sang to pick one and move on.
That's the point of my review: a fair and balanced opinion about what the book is and not what it isn't or I think it should be. So here goes...
The Good: Sang is slowly getting more involved in Academy work instead of standing on the outside looking in. It establishes, in my opinion, that the boys are beginning to understand that the can protect her without controlling her as her mother did. It also shows that Sang is growing as a character, as she is taking initiative instead of following along like she did originally.There was more interaction with the oldest boys, which is nice to see how the interact with one another but also how being with Sang changes their behaviours.
The Bad: Nathan spins wildly out of character: even as his internal monologue goes on about he'd do anything for the guys he talks about stealing Sang for himself. Don't get me wrong, I expect every guy to have some initial resistance to the plan but for such a supportive character to claim 'you don't know or love her like I do' is as unbelievable as Silas or North slapping Sang.